Peace River; Taylor, BC

British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.

The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.

We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.

This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.

It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.

But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.

Charlie Lake

About 15 minutes outside of Fort St. John is Charlie Lake. Yesterday my wife and I decided to go and check it out with our kayaks.

The boat launch that is there is in disrepair, so you can only bring kayaks, canoes and small boats in the lake. This meant that yesterday- we had the lake to ourselves.

This is a small lake only 3 km wide and 13 km long. There are a few homes situated along the shore, but none if you paddled north. Near the shoreline was heavy in algae which gave it a green tinge and made it tough to paddle through.

Once we ventured out about 500 meters, the water was pristine. Our mid day paddle last a good couple of hours and we paused at one point for a lunch break as we bobbed up and down on the slight waves.

This was yet another easy kayaking adventure. No challenge to it. But because of the amount of time we spent on the water- we can feel the burn today in our muscles. It feels great.

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

The Days Between…

In North America there is a couple of days in July that feel lost and without fanfare.

July 2nd and 3rd.

These are the two days that fall between Canada Day and Independence Day. The celebrations on July 1st north of the border and on July 4th south of the border. Canadians and Americans share a huge border and those that live near it, such as myself, benefit from the ability to visit freely from one side to the other.

What should we do with those two days in between? We should create an official celebration between our two countries that lasts four days. Hear me out… Already many people extend their time off around one of these dates. Many of us have family and friends who live on either side of the border. Plus the number 23 in numerology contains elements of companionship, diplomacy, and teamwork energies. A perfect description of the camaraderie between our two countries.

Why not make it official? Call July 2 and 3rd The International Two-Three. A new holiday celebrating friendships. I’m on board and want to make posters now!

Work vs Vacation

I make the most of my vacations. My days off are full of fun times and experiences. I came back to work after ten days off this past vacation to find an abundance of emails.

That was probably the hardest part of coming back to work. I enjoy the job itself, but there is often excessive emails that I need to sift through to find what I need to do my job.

Coming back to work and I’m already thinking towards my next vacation. Planning ahead is tough when you’re not sure how much you could spend.

I’d like to try and not go into debt to enjoy some time away from home. Pinching pennies and returning empty bottles for refunds may be how I pay for our next bit of fun. Back to working in order to afford my vacations I guess. Like a vicious circle.

Doggo Sitting

In the past when we have gone on vacation, we have left our dog, Lex Luthor with friends, family or at a Kennel. He has always been returned to us happy and healthy.

However, the one time he stayed at my sister’s place, he escaped within the first few hours. I received a phone call from someone who had collected Lex. My sister felt so awful about him breaking free that she would never look after him again. I wasn’t mad at her, he was quite the energetic dog when we first got him. Even in the first week of us adopting him, he jumped our fence and wandered the neighborhood (without us knowing). Lex is much older now and far less active.

An old friend of mine asked if we could look after their puppy while they were out of town. He’s a youthful nine month old puppers. Very friendly and gets along with our family and Lex which is great. Having this puppy here has made us be more energetic and mobile. We are going for more walks and playing around more. But we did the same thing my sister did. We were complacent about following the rules of a new dog.

One night, our son let both dogs out into our backyard. Our dog Lex returned. But our visitor did not. With a fenced acre and lots of trees, we searched the backyard nonchalantly thinking that he must be there. No such luck. Turns out he ran into the neighbor’s yard. So our kids went to get him.

Puppies don’t listen very well. This puppers was no exception. He kept running further and further off whenever we got close. Not only did our kids try and catch him, but three more neighborhood kids got in on the excitement. This puppy was chased through about twenty acres of open farm lands.

Only to return to our backdoor.

Now I kind of know how my sister felt. Even though I wasn’t overly scared that we’d never see him again- there was that small negative part of me that wondered how I would tell my buddy that his godson lost his dog. Luckily I didn’t have to. Maybe he will read this when he returns from his vacation. Until then, the puppy has found a happy place in our house and has made himself quite at home. I don’t think our son will let him out of his sights again.

Somewhere in all this is a good lesson to learn. I don’t quite know what it is, but my son’s guilt was punishment enough. Looking back, we also saved a dog in Odaiba, Japan and returned him to his owner. People and pets have a bond that you can’t refute.

Land, Air, and Sea

Flying home from Los Angeles I chose to sit by the window. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the scenery below.

Flying over California was neat. The change in landscapes was quick paced. Almost immediately leaving Los Angeles there were mountains and farmland. Lots of earthy tones of brown and green.

As we approached the Vancouver airport, the view changed drastically to more lush green and the blue of the water surrounding the outskirts.

Flying over both was surreal to me. In California- I could see below us all of the many roads we have driven in the past to get to Disneyland. Arriving at Vancouver, I could see the many locations that my work services. Rail cars and train tracks that I have been on numerous times. Plus many local roads that I have driven.

Once you’re in the air- flying is neat. The other stuff at airports, check in, paperwork, delays, etc… sucks. I prefer a good old fashioned road trip.

Portofino Aneheim

Back at the end of January/ beginning of February 2009, I was getting laid off. So we took that opportunity to go to Disneyland for the first time. I was told on the Wednesday that on the Friday I’d be laid off. So we went onto the Disneyland website and booked tickets and a hotel starting the Sunday.

That Saturday morning, Mickey and his friends called our house and the kids answered the call. Their ages were 2,4 and 6. They lit up! Immediately after the call, we packed our minivan and hit the road. We drove straight through for 26 hours taking turns driving.

We arrived at the Portifino Inn and Suites. It was perfect. Separate bedroom for the kids and only a short walk to the park. This our third time returning to stay at the hotel.

The rooms are spacious and moderately priced. Like most hotels near Disneyland, this one boasts a parking lot pool. It’s the perfect size for a quick dip to relax.

There’s only two things that would make this place one of my favorite hotels.

First, breakfast.

Unfortunately there is no breakfast offered. Nothing more than the in-room coffee is available. I’d worry that if there was breakfast offered- it’d be subpar. So maybe no breakfast is a good thing, especially for the price we pay.

Secondly, better WiFi.

Just like German WiFi- it’s the wurst. It drops constantly and has trouble connecting. Walking up to the hotel or at the pool- it works great. In the rooms, it sketches out. Having teens- (and myself) this is life ending! But we are trudging through.

We like staying at this hotel. Even with a couple of flaws. For a place to rest my head and enjoy some downtime- this place is perfect.

Photos, Fire, and a Friend

Thursday at Twenty Mile Bay was filled with a couple of long hikes and a few big meals. After breakfast, we ventured around the campsite along the water’s edge and capture some amazing pictures, and a little snake.

We did a ton of artsy pictures throughout the day. My daughters and I discussed photography (as I took it in High School, and they are as well). So we tried to out do one another.

The end of the day, we sat around the campfire and tossed in some Mystical Fire to add some colours to the flames.

It was a great way to end our last night of camping.

Regroup

We came home Friday afternoon from our cabin trip. Immediately unpacked and did laundry. We each took some down time as well to just chill out.

A late evening family dinner and called it a day. A quick recovery and recharge before hitting the weekend in full force.

On to more adventures and experiences! Time to regroup has passed.